Transformers for computers


I’ve just moved over from Canada and brought my computer with me. . .it is a small desktop.

I’m having a hard time finding a grounded adapter. Any suggestions? There seem to be different types of adapters. . .those that look very simple and cost very little and those that are larger, cost more and take wattage into account. I want to take the right precautions and not fry my computer. I was planning on plugging the adapter into a French power surge power bar. Make sense?

Thanks in advance for any help in the right direction.


Hi Michael,

From the specs you’ve provided the power supply you’re referring to appears to be what is known as a ‘Switched-Mode Power Supply’. This means that it can take any AC input voltage from 90V to 250V or thereabouts and still provide the required 19V output. I won’t go into the theory of how SMPS work (it’s to do with transistors switching on and off very fast) but suffice to say that these PSUs can work between US (110V) and UK or Europe (220V/230V) without any issues.

The SADP-65KB PSUs are usually used with Acer / Gateway / Packard Bell laptops, it’s not common to see them used with desktop PC systems that need 12V and 5V output, not 19V. Anyway if that’s what you have then fine.

You will need either the required ‘travel’ adapter or a replacement mains cord if it is of the removable type, this is a slightly more elegant solution than the travel adapter of course.

Hi Michael,the power supply on your desktop will be a type of transformer, as your motherboard needs a fraction of the power the mains will supply.

I have happily plugged all my UK and USA equipment into the French system using just plain adapters, and have now replaced all the input cables with the French alternatives.

I personally think you will be fine, but without seeing the equipment, I can’t guarantee it. You could contact the manufacturer or indeed take it to your local IT shop if you are particularly worried.



Do you have a picture of the type of adapter you have? What is the detailed ratings on the power unit of your desktop power supply?

I have successfully plugged an American notebook plug adapter into the French system without any issues, even though the American adapters take less power than we do in the Europe.